Friday, November 30, 2012

Some thoughts on patriarchy.....

...inspired by some other thoughts on the topic by "soon to retire blogger" Elspeth.  Now our sister at Breathing Grace is absolutely correct that the prevailing mood of our culture is to henpeck men, and that it is offensive.

In short, it's a lot like our culture's attitude towards those of us who love their wives enough to provide them with the opportunity to have more than one or two children.  I've heard "You know, they've learned what causes those things" far more than once.

One blessed day, I figured out the proper response:  "Yes, and my wife and I enjoy it very much."--implicitly suggesting, of course, that the less fertile may be there because would-be-Dad wasn't taking "Husbands, love your wives" very seriously, if you catch my drift.

So is the key to defending patriarchy a bit of humor about the situation?  Imagine you hear this:

You know, I've learned that the most important words a man can say are "yes, dear."

One thing I've learned over the years is that the wife is the boss.

So now let's illustrate the absurdity with a touch of humor.

Wow, you've got it bad--even feminists agree it should be a 50-50 proposition!

With that attitude, you're going to make her a great wife!

You do know that there are few things more attractive to a woman than leadership, right?

Life is like dancing; if the guy doesn't lead, he ends up stepping on her toes.

Egalitarianism; because what orchestra needs a director?

Any other thoughts?  Or, for that matter, catcalls?

And the bubble begins to pop?

America's worst loan sharks are now suffering a default rate of 11%, higher than that for credit cards, as more and more college graduates (and non-graduates) are finding they cannot make their student loan payments.  But thanks to Obamacare, there is even less chance of a banker asking little questions like this:

How do you propose to pay back the quarter million bucks you want to borrow to get your PhD in gender and ethnic studies?

Graduation rates for people with your SAT scores are below 30%.  Why are you a better credit risk than the other hundred people with SAT scores like yours I've denied this month?

Well, thanks to our desire to avoid hurting young peoples' feelings by asking them questions like this, we've now prevented many of them from getting good paying jobs and skilled trades, and by saddling them with billions in debt they can't hope to pay back, our student loan program is preventing them from getting a good paying job now by trashing their credit rating.

Maybe it's time to bring back the green eyeshades guys.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Random things in the news

A group of women in the military are seeking to overturn the military's ban on women in infantry combat--noting correctly that this ban prevents many female officers from attaining higher rank.  Fine, but if we're going to do this, let's go to a single set of physical fitness standards for both sexes.  If a gal can carry a 200 lb colleague and do at least ten pull-ups, she can go to combat.

Oh, and another thing; let's make sure we start quantifying the problems that result when you send young, fit people of both sexes out on deployments together.  Let's make the informed decision we've been delaying for 30 or so years, OK?

In other news involving women, a study has come out alleging that female porn stars are not "damaged goods",  based apparently on self-reported self-esteem and other factors.  Now apart from the fact that self-reporting is a basic methodological problem--many will even lie when the questionaire is anonymous--there is the issue of using "self-esteem" as if it is an unalloyed good.  The fact of the matter is that some reports have found that high self-esteem correlates well to low achievement and high crime rates--exactly what those who oppose porn would tell you.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Say what?

Our President has apparently called a number of small businessmen to the White House in order to "strike a deal" with small business, evidently unaware that you can't really cut a deal with hundreds of thousands of small businessmen.  It would be like herding cats.

At least "Dear Leader" heard the truth about how small business cannot afford his programs, but five will get you ten that he's not listening too much.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Who would have believed this in 1989?

A column in Pravda mocking the Americans for embracing Communism by re-electing Obama, and pointing out the atrocities of the Soviet mistake.  OK, obligatory nod to Putin, who seems to have some Stalinist tendencies himself, but very interesting nonetheless. 

So now the only true Communism to be found in the world is not only in Cuba, Madison, Cambridge, Boulder, Berkeley, and Palo Alto, but also Washington, DC?


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Want to understand our country today?

Read the study referenced by this article, and then read "Dreams of My Father."  It will all make sense to you. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

A scary thought.....

One of my favorite magazines, World Magazine, has an interesting perspective; that the re-election of Mr. Obama to the Presidency really seems to be a a clear sign that the political power of evangelicals is on the wane.  Now for better or worse, I believe this to be true to a point, but I saw something else that is, quite frankly, just as frightening.

According to Time Magazine, the technological edge enjoyed by the Obama campaign was huge, and an interesting characteristic of that technological program was the concept that getting out the vote could be as simple as a well timed Facebook post.  Reach the mailboxes of those on Facebook, Twitter, and such on election day, and you're going to pull a lot of their votes.

This scares me hugely; what it means is that large portions of the electorate, faced with a decision impacting the freedom of nations and tens of trillions of dollars in income and wealth, cannot be bothered to schedule some time to cast a ballot unless they are reminded personally the day of the election.

In other words, the work of Captain Video has been achieved; the destruction of the American attention span.  Time will tell what the corollary damage is, but I suspect that it has something to do both with elected officials ignoring the significance of a sixteen trillion dollar national debt (over $100 trillion by GAAP standards) and businessmen dropping long term planning in favor of achieving monthly accounting numbers.  It just might have something to do with our nation's attitude towards debt as well. 

Not entirely new, as I believe Isaiah wrote about similar things, but the degree to which we cannot be bothered is yet not a good sign.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The future of gun control.... now, as a human rights group has endorsed a global ban on autonomous, weapon-wielding robots. Because obviously, if we ban something, nobody will ever have one.  Who has ever heard of a criminal using a handgun in Chicago, New York City, or Washington, DC?  The bans have removed the problem, just like our bans on mind-altering drugs have made it impossible to find marijuana, cocaine, and heroin in those same cities.


In other news, Cinderella apparently needs to warn some of her modern-day stepsisters about ravens, as many women are apparently getting their toes removed to get their big ugly feet into Prince Charming's glass slipper get their feet into modern high heels.  Apparently, choosing shoes that fit is entirely out of the question, and the price of fashion is now, more than ever, measured in flesh and blood.

Mrs. Bike Bubba is ever more glad that her husband has never been fond of high heels, needless to say, and retains all ten of her toes.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving thoughts

It's amazing how one can "live of the fat of the land" here in this country--in my "time off," we've had people bring their unused packaged foods, produce, and even the game from the bottom of our freezer to us, along with clothes and more.   (Wild turkey has an amazing taste not duplicated by the domestic variety, that's for sure!)

It's amazing how one can cut expenses when one knows how to cook and sew.  I am currently wearing a pair of slacks that were repaired years ago--and nobody but my wife and I know.

It's amazing how God can put together a job offer from a company I'd not thought of working for, with a position I'd never thought I could do, with a pay package I'd never have dared to ask for. 

So count me thankful!  13 grains of Pilgrim corn have never tasted so good!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Because the return on Social Security just can't be beat!

At least one senior citizens' group is suggesting that the Obama administration is going to push for a system that would allow all retirement accounts to be handled by the government(not privatize; my mistake!) Because, of course, the 0% return on the money we put into Social Security (and going negative for my generation!) beats the 7-10% average return of the stock market since the Great Depression any day.

Worse yet--or in a more basic way--the (theoretical) plan ignores the fact that for an economy to grow, it needs capital, and standing against the 401K and IRA "because it benefits the rich," as an Obama staffer is said to have said, only serves to impoverish us all by depriving companies of working capital.

Hopefully this is either false or a trial balloon going over like a Led Zeppelin.  If it's not, the Tea Parties this time around will make those of the last time around look like an ice cream social.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why don't kids learn science at school?

Well, if this article is any indication, it's because too many teachers don't understand it, either.  When a Monterrey teacher asked for a private place in which to pump milk for her newborn, she allegedly was told to train her breasts not to make milk between the hours of 7am and 1pm.  Apparently the school manager never learned in health class that you really can't turn off any part of your body for the convenience of school administrators. 

Also of interest is the fact that the school has a "manager."  I personally don't remember ever having school "managers," but rather a principal in elementary school, a principal and an assistant principal in middle school, and a principal and three or so assistant principals in high school.  Can I suggest that if the school needs "managers" as well, they ought to simply hire a principal and assistant principals who know how to, you know, manage things?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vote Democrat?

If so, this is what you've voted for.  The GAO estimated about 800,000 jobs would be lost due to Obamacare, and the news just gets better--one "must have" for President Obama is higher taxes on prosperous Americans that are likely to cost 700,000 more jobs. 

But hey, why would you want people like Bill Gates to have money to invest when you can give it to President Obama, who will give it to his buddies at Solyndra.  Who cares that 35% of his loans go bust?

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

More thoughts on the election fallout

All of the stock indexes worldwide appear to be pricing in four more years of Barack Obama and Harry Reid; down 2% at lunchtime. Corresponds pretty well with the 1.5 million Americans who stand to lose their jobs as Obamacare is implemented and Obama works to tax job creators more.

If Walter Cronkite's post-retirement biography is any indication, the media have been in the bag for the left since at least the 1960s, if not the 1930s or before. 

Given that the media being in the bag for the left isn't exactly a new phenomenon, it's about time for those of us who believe in limited government to put on their big boy pants and do what it takes to get the message out on their own.

Given that the message of the left this election cycle was essentially the same emotional appeal "soak the rich" that Huey Long and FDR used, Doug Wilson's point about getting Christian kids out of the government's schools is very well taken.  

A number of Republicans lost winnable races because of clearly avoidable gaffes and personal issues.  It's time for the GOP to start hiring detectives to help their candidates avoid this kind of thing.  Far better to learn early than for the media and Democrats to be the ones hiring the detectives.

Results nationwide show that the GOP needs to do a far better job developing prospects in the minor leagues.

Madonna, please don't honor your promise.

Post election thoughts.....

The book of Jeremiah seems very appropriate these days.  As does, as my gracious guest WB Picklesworth notes, 1984.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A prayer for election day....

Lord, give us the government we need, not the government we deserve!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Mr. Obama, her name is Rebecca Blank

President Obama proposes a new Secretary of Business, forgetting that the Cabinet has had a Secretary of Commerce since 1913.  I guess it's understandable coming from a guy who skips most of his national security briefings, and who went on "The View" instead of meeting with Israel's Prime Minister.  And it's probably understandable given that no fewer than four people have filled this position since Mr. Obama moved to the White House.  It would seem that continuity in this theoretically vital position has not been a priority for this administration.

Maybe we need someone in the White House who views this kind of thing as a priority.

An interesting parallel to John Gatto's work

I have written quite a bit about the work of John Taylor Gatto, the former Teacher of the Year who discovered, upon finding that his "Teacher of the Year" award was his ticket to being pushed out of the New York City schools, that a great part of the model for American public (or "government") schools is the schools of old Prussia.  Instead of (or perhaps in addition to?) generating the greatest soldiers known, our schools aimed to produce the consumers and factory workers needed by the "robber barons" of the late 19th century. 

Judging by the state of our garages and storage spaces, it seems they succeeded at least in creating great consumers, if not factory workers.

An interesting, and unexpected, parallel to Gatto's work is The Transformation of Corporate Control, by Neil Fligstein.  A textbook of my brother's when at this second rate school, I picked it up yesterday hoping to get some hints and "feel" for how companies think, and boy, did I ever.

Fligstein's thesis, more or less, is that federal railroad, canal, and other subsidies and protections created the great industrialists of the late 1800s as a product not of business acumen, but rather of political patronage.  As a result, they did well at accumulating capital (look at any 1800s era railroad station for proof), but struggled mightily to actually run a business profitably.  The history of big business management, then, is explained by Fligstein as the responses of big business to the implementation of regulations like the Sherman Antitrust Act--overt monopolies giving way to secret trusts giving way to strategies of holding companies, vertical and horizontal integration, conglomerates, and the management trends of leadership by production, leadership by sales and marketing, and leadership by finance.  As any reader of "Dilbert" would guess, the dominant trend today is leadership by the finance and accounting guys.  Fligstein uses Alfred Sloan as a picture of the sales and marketing leader, and Henry Ford as an archetype of the manufacturing leader.

The implications?  Central to Fligstein's thesis is the idea that there are precious few leaders who can unite manufacturing, marketing and sales, and finance, and that government action--specifically Sherman and other antitrust laws--has often been the prime mover to shift the mode of leadership.

Implications for the guy who will never attain the big corner office and company paid BMW 7 series?   Well, if you really want to change the world, Fligstein notes that you'll generally do well to avoid the big companies that are run by the finance guys.   Accounting schemes that require instant response don't do well with that. 

More importantly, if you've got a good idea and have a good basic grasp of sales, accounting, and product, you might be in for a fun ride if you go into business for yourself.  Fligstein's writing is not easy, but it is worthwhile.